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Star Spangled Rhythm (1942)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Musical  |  2 December 1942 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 375 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 12 critic

Pop, a security guard at Paramount has told his son that he's the head of the studio. When his son arrives in Hollywood on shore leave with his buddies, Pop enlists the aid of the studio's ... See full summary »


, (uncredited)


(original screenplay), (sketches) (as George Kaufman) , 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Victor Moore ...
Vera Zorina ...
Vera Zorina- 'That Old Black Magic' Number
Dick Powell-' Hit the Road to Dreamland' Number
Alan Ladd- Scarface Skit


Pop, a security guard at Paramount has told his son that he's the head of the studio. When his son arrives in Hollywood on shore leave with his buddies, Pop enlists the aid of the studio's dizzy switchboard operator in pulling off the charade. Things get more complicated when Pop agrees to put together a show for the Navy starring Paramount's top contract players. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Musical


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 December 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Au pays du rythme  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director A. Edward Sutherland and cinematographer John F. Seitz shot the "That Old Black Magic" number, uncredited. See more »


During the jeep ride, one of the sailors is thrown out when the vehicle hits a bump and jumps onto a dirt road. The sailor is then shown back in the jeep in the next shot. See more »


[In front of Old Glory and a plaster Mt. Rushmore]
Bing Crosby: [singing] Germans, Italians, and Japs / Can't kick us off our Rand-McNally maps.
See more »


Featured in Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998) See more »


Hit the Road to Dreamland
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Sung by Mary Martin, Dick Powell and The Golden Gate Quartette
See more »

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User Reviews

Doing It For Defense
9 November 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Betty Hutton, one of the nominal stars of Star Spangled Rhythm, was not just doing it for defense as in her number, but the whole studio was doing this All Star flag waver for the defense of the morale of the USA.

I can never resist one of these all star spectaculars and there's only one I would ever have given a bad review to, and this isn't the one. Everybody working on the Paramount lot got to do his bit for defense in this film, some bits being longer than others.

The nominal plot of this film has Betty Hutton as a switchboard girl at Paramount studios and Victor Moore, a former silent western star, now working as a security guard at the studio trying to convince Eddie Bracken and a bunch of his sailor buddies that Moore is really the head of the studio. For that they have to con and bamboozle Walter Abel who is a real studio executive out of his office and off the lot so they can do their masquerade uninterrupted.

Of course Bracken asks the inevitable, pop can you get all these stars down for a big Navy show, and the con has to continue. But all of this nonsense is just an excuse for some musical and comedy numbers by the Paramount players.

Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer wrote the score and out of it came two really big standards, That Old Black Magic which was nominated for Best Song that year, but lost to another Paramount film song, White Christmas and Hit the Road to Dreamland.

The latter was done as director Preston Sturges was playing himself and screening a musical number from his latest film. As the projector rolls on screen it's Dick Powell and Mary Martin on a Pullman car singing about finally hitting the hay after some romance. The scene is so well done I wish it was included as an integral part of a real film.

That Old Black Magic is sung by Johnny Johnson and danced by ballet star Vera Zorina. It was enormous hit that year, recorded by a flock of singers. Oddly enough not by Bing Crosby though he got to sing it in another film, Here Come the Waves.

Of course the finale is a wartime flag waving number with Bing Crosby singing Old Glory about the flag and the wonders of the country behind it. The number about the flag probably wouldn't fly today still and that's a pity.

It's even more of a pity that these musical extravaganzas are a thing of the past with the decline of the Hollywood studio system. Star Spangled Rhythm is one of the best of its kind.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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